Item #56086 A series of five autograph letters signed to Webster Knight. Charles V. Chapin.

A series of five autograph letters signed to Webster Knight

Providence & New York: 1876-79. All 12mo (approx. 7¾" x 4¾"), 23 pages in all; previous folds; generally fine. A personal, very youthful and friendly body of correspondences from Charles Value Chapin (1856-1941) to his friend Webster Knight when Chapin was just beginning his career as a physician. All letters, except the first, are from Bellevue Hospital in New York where he had moved to continue his education at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. In the first letter, Chapin describes a yacht race at Brown University: "Providence, July 17, '76. Dear he [Hazard] was on the port tack he should have given way as I expected but instead kept right on and we had to bear away...almost wished we had hit him amidships and sunk the old tub...but I suppose it is more high-toned not to have drowned them...we had a small hop at Warwick...had a delightful time flirting with Helena and Miss Rhodes whom you remember I used to apply your expressive phrase 'pill garlic'." The next letter names some mutual acquaintances - also well-known Rhode Island names; Bill Gammell, Prescott, the Bowens, speaks of Webster's flirting with the girls, foreign language studies, his autopsy studies; "making hash and sausage out of a lot of half rotten corpses--their ghastly faces grinning up...under the dim gaslight." Topics of the remaining letters include friendly banter associated with the boyhood escapades of the two, reminiscences of Rhode Island, and he wonders if the medical field will be as lucrative as the cotton business. In the last letter from 1879, which Chapin instructs Knight to burn "as soon as you have read this," he speaks of finishing his morning rounds at Bellevue, his "rottenest boarding house...shanty is no name for the house and the table is poor and the people are idiots except me." Chapin speaks of his current lady love but "when she goes I have another girl I am going to make up to. She comes from Elizabeth, N.J. and is more or less of a naughty girl and a d.f. but at the same time they have a first rate billiard table at the house...and also a good dinner." After visiting a saloon and taking a nap, Chapin goes back to the hospital where "...they were awfully glad to see me and the death rate immediately fell off by 25%." In 1879, upon graduating with his M.D., Chapin worked at Bellevue for a year. He was also a Professor of Physiology at Brown University from 1883 to 1896. 1884 was the year in which Chapin was appointed as Superintendent of Health and he served in that capacity until his retirement in 1932. Chapin was well known, nationally and internationally, for his public health work related to contagious diseases, such as diphtheria, scarlet fever, and typhoid. His research showed that contagious diseases were not airborne, but were spread through contact. He was also a prolific writer and lecturer and was a member of many associations and societies. He was the president of the American Public Health Association in 1926 and 1927 and was the first president of the American Epidemiology Society in 1927. He also received the Sedgwick Medal in 1930. His correspondent Col. Webster Knight (1854-1933) was of the B. B. & R. Knight (Fruit of the Loom) cotton manufactory barons. He graduated from Brown in 1876, married Sarah Waldo Lippitt (of the Lippitt mill dynasty), became director of several banks, assistant quartermaster general of the Rhode Island National Guards, and a member of the Warwick Town Council. Item #56086

Price: $400.00

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